Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, visiting Boston with Denver business leaders, told Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday that people all over the country talk about him as “a likely presidential candidate.”
At an event at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Boston waterfront, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, put Patrick on the spot about his future, which Patrick insists will be in the private sector and out of elective office.
“Assuming you don’t go into the White House … what do you think about in terms of what direction you want to go?” Hickenlooper asked.
Laughing off the suggestion of a presidential bid, Patrick expounded in greater detail than he has before about what he’s contemplating at the end of his second term as Massachusetts’s chief executive.
“I’d like to maybe run a company,” he said. Gesturing to Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce members who held a meeting here, he cracked, “I’m looking for a job in three years, so please keep me in mind.”
“I like fixing things,” Patrick continued, adding however, that “I wouldn’t call myself a turnaround person.”
Patrick, a former legal counsel to Coca Cola and Texaco and former Department of Justice civil rights lawyer in the Clinton administration, said he’s worked for companies “whose focus had become how to protect their brand, rather than a focus on the calculated risk-taking that built the brand in the first place.”
He enjoys, he said, getting companies to “strike that balance between prudence and wise stewardship and having that edge so you’re still growing, you’re still reaching.” Hickenlooper jumped in and jokingly asked Patrick to consider locating his prospective business “in the Rocky Mountains.”
“Don’t limit yourself to one sandbox,” he said as attendees chuckled.
After the event, Hickenlooper told the News Service Patrick has never “publicly or privately” suggested to him that he “has any interest or any inclination to seek higher office after he’s finished as governor.”
“I take him at his word, but I think that’s a loss. And who knows – enough people keep bugging him about it, talking to his wife,” he said, before trailing off.
Hickenlooper was referring to an earlier comment Patrick made when he described his second term as governor as his last, despite the lack of term limits in Massachusetts.
“My term limit is named Diane Patrick,” Patrick joked.